Open your heart, not your wallet this Valentine’s Day

valentine's day budget

When Pope Glass honoured the death of St Valentine over 1700 years ago, he probably didn’t consider that the date, which would be celebrated by lovers the world over for centuries to come, would be two weeks shy of pay day.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m a massive cheese when it comes to romance.

Now, I’m no romantic.

I obviously like being taken out for dinner. Surprise presents. The occasional bunch of flowers. The odd note tucked away in my pocket saying how ace I am.

Oh, who am I kidding? I’m a massive cheese when it comes to romance.

If I was working on a production line sorting mail, and a U.S. Navy aviation officer rocked up, swept me off my feet and carried me off to better life, that would be absolutely OK with me. For example.

Unfortunately, by mid-month in our flat, we’re normally holding out for the next pay cheque, and the pilots are grounded until further notice.

But, there can’t be a more traditional way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than sharing a meal. The question is, how do you do it, and make it to the end of the month?

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If you do fancy a trip out, do a bit of research first. Loads of places have offers on-line.

One fab app is voucher cloud. It tells you which restaurants close by have offers, downloads them  to your phone, and all you have to do is show the waiting staff the screen before they process the bill.

My boyfriend had a suggestion.

And to be honest, I was a bit put out to say the least when he first proposed it, as he’s not known for digging deep – but don’t have a bottle of wine when out.

beers valentinesThe thing is, he was right. Suddenly most places become much more affordable when you take off the extra twenty quid for the Rioja.

Luckily, he didn’t suggest water in its place, but if you have a beer each, the bill becomes more affordable.

The no-wine rule has meant we’ve managed to go out for dinner more often than just birthdays.

But this Valentine’s Day, we’re going to try something different.

We’re going to dine out, in.

The thing is, it’s not always necessarily about where you go, but the atmosphere when you get there.

Now, and this does take a bit of effort, why not turn your kitchen table into a romantic restaurant for the night?

Obviously, it takes a bit of suspension of disbelief. Covering up the washing up and dimming the lights.

But it can be done. Put a cloth on the table, light a few candles.

And get dressed up. Get out of the comfy, “did I wear these jogging bottoms to sleep in last night?” clothes. Because, that’s half the fun of going out in the first place.

Better still if no-one has to be in charge of dinner.  Get a meal deal from one of the supermarkets or food halls. M&S normally do a good Dine for a Tenner offer.

Because, in my experience, nothing kills a potentially romantic evening like slaving away cooking up a dinner, when it’s meant to be a mutual appreciation of how much you like each other.

Not how good one of you is at chores.

I guess, at the end of the day, finding time for the person you love when you have a busy life should be an achievement in itself.

But I don’t imagine Richard Gere told Debra Winger to skip the starter and have half a Heineken, after he whisked her off on his Harley.

Mind you, pilots probably get paid in the middle of the month.